Klinsmann throws up the surprises

[USA MEN] Jurgen Klinsmann's decision to cut Landon Donovan overshadowed some surprise decisions in his final 23-player roster for the World Cup. Six months ago, who'd have taken money on any one of John Brooks, Timmy Chandler, DeAndre Yedlin or Julian Green going to the World Cup? All of them, it turns out, are headed to Brazil.

John Brooks (Hertha Berlin). The Berlin-born Brooks only chose to play for the USA last summer after sitting out the 2013 Under-20 World Cup (for which he could have played for the USA) and Under-21 European Championship (for which he was eligible to play for Germany). Despite a couple of shaky outings in friendlies against Bosnia-Herzegovina last August and Ukraine in March, Klinsmann took Brooks after he regained his starting job at Hertha Berlin last in his first Bundesliga season.

Low point: For the second time in the fall, Brooks was pulled by Coach Jos Luhukay from a game in the first half. After the game against Werder Bremen in December, Luhukay said it was time Brooks grew up. "We’re in the Bundesliga, which is tough as nails," the Hertha coach said. "He needs to become an adult."

Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg). Chandler appeared to be in Klinsmann's doghouse all through qualifying after a particularly bad game against Honduras in his first competitive match for the USA, a 2-1 loss in San Pedro Sula to open the Hexagonal. But with Klinsmann's encouragement, Chandler recovered from a bad start to the 2013-14 season with Nuremberg to regain his form. Klinsmann signaled that Chandler was likely part of the World Cup team when he said in announcing the 30-player short list that he had him scouted many times in training and thought he was a player that could make a difference "if he is on his highest level."

Low point: After back-to-back selections to the kicker Team of the Week, Chandler went into his match against local rival Bayern Munich on a high. But he had to be taken to the hospital with a meniscus tear suffered in the eighth minute of the Frankisch-Bayerisches derby with German champion Bayern Munich. The injury was expected keep him out 8-10 weeks. Fortunately, he returned for the last two games of the Nuremberg season that ended with its relegation from the Bundesliga.

Soccer America at Stanford Training Camp:
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Mike Woitalla: 'Good brotherhood' at U.S. World Cup prep camp
Paul Kennedy: Dempsey 'privileged' to be Captain America
Mike Woitalla: Tim Howard: 'I'll rest when I retire'
Paul Kennedy: Timmy Chandler responds to Klinsmann's encouragement
Mike Woitalla: Father's advice pays off for Fabian Johnson

Julian Green (Bayern Munich). Green has yet to play a game for Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga -- his only appearance came as a late sub in a meaningless UEFA Champions League match -- but the USA had been pursuing him for months. Green, who was born in Tampa but raised in Germany, played for Germany's U-19 national team last October and needed to make an irrevocable switch to the USA to change allegiances. Weeks after training with the USA in Cyprus in March, U.S. Soccer announced that he was applying to FIFA to play for the USA. Green made his U.S. debut April 2 against Mexico.

Low point: Green seemed to be warm to making the switch last fall when he accepted an invitation to train with the USA ahead of its two friendlies last November, but he then did an about-face and declined the invite. In December, Klinsmann told Sport Bild that Green had for the moment decided to stick with the German U-19s.

DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders). Yedlin had not made his pro debut when the Hexagonal started in February 2013. But an outstanding season at right back for the Seattle Sounders earned him a starting spot on the 2013 U.S. Under-20 World Cup team and an invitation to the January national team camp. Yedlin is blessed with blazing speed but plagued by tactical deficiencies. Both his appearances for the USA in 2014 have come off the bench -- against South Korea and Mexico -- but Klinsmann thought so highly of him that he took Yedlin ahead of his Seattle Sounders teammate Brad Evans and the Columbus Crew's Michael Parkhurst, who had both played at right back in the Hexagonal.

Low point: The day before Klinsmann announced the USA's 30-player short list, Yedlin was so bad in the Sounders' 5-0 loss to New England that Coach Sigi Schmid pulled him in the second half.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nuremberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Moenchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes).
25 comments about "Klinsmann throws up the surprises".
  1. R2 Dad, May 23, 2014 at 1:15 a.m.

    I think Yedlin was brought in specifically to address the CR7 conundrum. Ronaldo routinely burns top right backs who have excellent positioning but not top speed. As long as Yedlin keeps a cool head, he could be very useful if he is able to help stifle Ronaldo. I see him playing in that game only.

  2. R2 Dad, May 23, 2014 at 1:18 a.m.

    Brooks, Chandler and Green will get time in the Germany match, where they have played against these Germans and won't be in awe of them. With a point to prove to JK and their clubs, our last match could prove pivotal.

  3. Cesar Sastre, May 23, 2014 at 8:06 a.m.

    Great to have these Germans playing for us but decision to can Donovan is foolish, non sense and ego driven and will cost the USA any hope they had of advancing to 2nd round. LD is not the player he was 5 years ago physically, but he is more of a player experientially and he still is a pretty dangerous player who can create havoc and opportunities, especially alongside Dempsey. No disrespect but Wondo, Beckerman, Zusi, Beasley, Diskerud over LD?? Never. The USA is clearly not as deep as Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Germany who can afford to go with youth over experience. Stupid decision. USA will be done in 3 games. Hope I am wrong but doubt it.

  4. ckg beautiful game, May 23, 2014 at 8:16 a.m.

    This is all about keeping promises to German players. Is Donovan in top form? No but their are at least 12 others you could say that about. We are likely to play with 10 men most of the time in at least one of the games when J Jones is red carded. Leaving Feilhaber and Donovan out of the squad shows we have little intent on winning. Outside of Bradley we have nobody able to play the killer ball that unlocks defenses.

  5. ckg beautiful game, May 23, 2014 at 8:25 a.m.

    This is euro disdain for US soccer at its highest, dropping one of our all time greats. For unproven euro bourgeoise wannabes. If Yedlin makes it off the bench or even dresses it will be amazing. He was picked to soften the Donovan assassination. This is JK hoping to field his German 2 squad and draw many more players not good enough to make Germany's main team in the future. This is a US team in Jersey only.

  6. Gus Keri, May 23, 2014 at 8:42 a.m.

    There are three undeniable facts about Klinsmann no matter how much he tries to deny them. 1- There is a personal friction between him and Donovan since their Bayern Munich time together. 2- He prefers European-based (mostly German) players over Mexican-based ones. 3- He is building for 2018 World Cup and not 2014 WC.

  7. Richard Broad, May 23, 2014 at 8:50 a.m.

    Everyone is surprised by the exclusion of Landon Donovan. The bigger problem will be the omission of Clarence Goodson. He was the most consistent defender throughout the qualifiers, NOT ONCE being on a losing side. The question should have been about him starting, not whether he made the team. The defense is the major concern as will be seen when faced with the likes of Christian Renaldo, Thomas Muller, etc. Klinsmann will rue this decision when the US comes home after 3 games. Having coached him, I'm biased, but they will miss his experience, example, and professionalism. These qualities will be sorely missed.

  8. Scott Olson, May 23, 2014 at 8:56 a.m.

    Seriously, we leave (even an aged) Donovan at home, but were still taking most of the time lazy Altidore? I see the need for speed in the back, but we will need speed with experience to combat Ronaldo, not one or the other - in those instances, an experienced player that can anticipate, cut off and stand him up, instead of letting him take off in the first place is needed more than somebody that can stay with him but get embarrassed on the cuts.

    I also agree that J. Jones is a bad decision, if we are talking the mental game, then a hot-head should definitely be left at home.

    I don't get it, many of the players on the roster in the same position that Donovan would be at are just not as good. I don't care about age, who cares how old you are if you can still play better than someone else. I see experienced elder teams spanking the younger hot dogs with tactics and skill all the time.

  9. Matt Cardillo, May 23, 2014 at 9:01 a.m.

    Agree Richard. Goodson always seem solid, but not flashy.

    But with all these decisions, NONE of us are in camp. So who knows what went on there.

    The LD exclusion is not near the shocker and i can't imagine will have the impact as the 1998-Harkes exclusion.

  10. James Hardern, May 23, 2014 at 9:24 a.m.

    Wonder how much Kkinsmann's contract extension affected his "decisions". Did Sunil just undermine the whole 2014 effort by encouraging JK to go with a younger roster with 2018 in mind?

  11. Kevin Sims, May 23, 2014 at 9:32 a.m.

    We are all free to question his choices ... glad more & more Americans care! Though surprised about LD, thinking there is value in a wily veteran with a history of clutch play, I really have no keen insights about his play in camp, his fitness or the quality of his play running up to camp. Do any of us outside the team environment really have valid insights to offer? A coach must trust his eyes & his intuition & his gut. To suggest any of these choices has anything to do with the future or keeping promises is nonsense. JK is trying his best to win @ this World Cup ... period. We will see if the youthful exuberance & energy pays dividends. I will be a huge USA fan, knowing that under the very best circumstances surviving the group will prove difficult. I empathize with difficult coaching decisions. Clearly JK is investing in highest level athletic ability ... at the expense of tactical consistency we will see.

  12. James Hardern, May 23, 2014 at 9:41 a.m.

    You are right Kevin in that it does come down to trust. We are all trusting in JK's judgement. I just have not seen enough sound judgements from JK to completely "trust" his judgement - know what I mean... So I too will hope for the best and cheer the US on. But dang, first the uniforms and now LD. I'm getting the Sampson/France '98 vibe and I am not liking it.

  13. Bryan Kempf, May 23, 2014 at 10:30 a.m.

    This is the same situation as a few years ago when you guys were up in arms about Michael Bradley getting so much playing time under his dad, saying that he's playing favorites. You guys are wrong again. It's a smart play by Klinsmann to leave Landon home. For Landon to make the team, he would have needed to be one of JK's top 14 players, rather than 23. Otherwise, Landon sitting a full 90 minutes in a losing effort, would cause all out pandemonium. If he's not in JK's plans, which are extremely planned out, then he is nothing but a distraction.

  14. R. AARON WHITHAM, May 23, 2014 at 11:23 a.m.

    Well put, Kevin Sims.

    For those of you who have listed LD vs the other mids who made the team, JK said he was no longer a mid in his mind, due to his physical limitations. So, he was competing vs Jozy, Clint, Aron & Wondo. Of those, as a pure striker, he was the odd man out.

    We'll miss him, but times change and we may find our next hero in this group.
    Go USA!

  15. cisco martinez, May 23, 2014 at 1:41 p.m.

    World Cup History reminder 1998, look what happened when Steve Sampson brought in David Regis, Thomas Dooley, Brian Massienievve, and Chad deering all german based players which completely ruined the World Cup chemistry.

  16. Thomas Brannan, May 23, 2014 at 1:52 p.m.

    Just a question. Was the two week camp sequestered? I don't watch ESPN all the time but how many times did Sportscenter have someone out there interviewing. How many articles were in Soccer America about how things were going. If there wasn't something about it daily or every other day that isn't enough. Was anyone watching to see if LD was out of shape, if he is? And was a disinterested/ objective discerning eye comparing everyone? Objective meaning journalist etc.

  17. Dan Phillips, May 23, 2014 at 2:31 p.m.

    JK did not need to take 3 goalkeepers! Really 3? When have ever seen all 3 goalies play? like, hardley ever! a wasted spot, could have had LD instead. Or better yet,Brek Shea, and even better choice. Why he was left off the team I will never know!

  18. Nicholas Concilio, May 23, 2014 at 2:31 p.m.

    In 1998, the team chemistry was ruined because the team captain was having an affair with another USMNT player's wife. It wasn't because of the "German-based" players. If you had to point to another reason, it would be the inclusion of David Regis (playing in the French league, not Germany). His citizenship was rushed through right before the WC started based upon his marriage to an American citizen.

  19. Nicholas Concilio, May 23, 2014 at 2:38 p.m.

    @ Dan Phillips -- I believe FIFA rules stipulate that each team has to name three goalkeepers. That is why the roster size was expanded to 23 a couple of World Cups ago.

  20. Chris Sapien , May 23, 2014 at 3:21 p.m.

    I'm in your camp on Clarence Goodson 115% Richard B.! Clarence was a pillar of positioning and ball winning when he wore the shirt for the US, and he is the only defender that has even smelled the grass at a WC. Are Omar's ball watching days over?, can we afford to slide Cameron to CD and risk Chandler or Johnson vs CR7 etc?, and let's face it, without Donovan's impeccable timing to stretch a defense late in a game, we shouldn't expect many shots on goal, if any at this point. Gen. Bradley has the ability to lead us to the promise land though! I don't see anyone else in this group who will run at defenders.

  21. I w Nowozeniuk, May 23, 2014 at 4:08 p.m.

    You officionados should get over the LD caper It appears that most of you have been brainwashed by the MLS TV commentators who constantly talk how 'GREAT' these players are (delusional). One should judge players on performance and consistency (that's why LD is out). CS, FYI, CR7 will eat up the defense as he has done in his career (consistency), and if u think Gen. Bradley can lead us to the promised land, than you must be comparing him to the likes of a Michel Platini, a player who did lead his teams to the promised land.

  22. cisco martinez, May 23, 2014 at 7:54 p.m.

    Nick, if you read any of Alexis Lalas, Marcelo Balboa, and Tab Ramos comments post 1998 about the team chemistry, it was not about John Harkes, it was all about Steve Sampson bringing in players that had german based experience against players whom got USA to the World Cup. Although you are righ that Harkes was criticized during the scandal, Sampson to his credit kept that story below the radar.

  23. I w Nowozeniuk, May 24, 2014 at 10:15 a.m.

    Scott O, u call Jozy lazy? I'd like to see u as a lone striker with hardly any decent balls delivered to you're feet or area. It takes 11 to play, and strikers need 'killer passes' which Jozy hardly ever gets. You should be more concerned about team shape and pressure, and those silly turnovers that strikers like Jozy see too many of.

  24. BJ Genovese, May 26, 2014 at 11:28 p.m.

    Again, Aron Johannison is left out of the picture. Even in this headline all the youngsters are tossed out except him. Why is he flying under the radar so well? Just curious. Everything I have read says nothing about what he is going to bring to the table. As a matter of fact his name is totally omitted.

  25. Nicholas Concilio, May 27, 2014 at 2:20 p.m.

    Not surprising that Lalas, Balboa and Ramos would stick up for their buddy Harkes and downplay the incident. However, Sampson and Wynalda paint a much different picture. http://www.espnfc.com/world-cup/story/_/id/4881732/ce/us/alleged-affair-hurt-98-team?cc=5901&ver=us

    Hard to believe that, on any level, this would not be a huge impediment in a collective team atmosphere.

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